Mesothelioma Recurrence: What to Expect After Treatment

Understanding Mesothelioma Recurrence

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue that covers most of your internal organs, called the mesothelium. The most common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral once widely used in construction and industrial materials. As such, mesothelioma primarily affects individuals who have worked in these industries or lived with someone who did.

The prognosis for mesothelioma is often poor due to a variety of factors, including late diagnosis and the aggressive nature of the cancer. Treatment options for mesothelioma typically involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. While treatment can extend the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients and improve their quality of life, there is always a risk of mesothelioma recurrence, or the return of cancer after treatment.

What is Mesothelioma Recurrence?

Mesothelioma recurrence is when cancer cells return after initial treatment. Recurrence can happen in the same area where the tumor was removed or in other parts of the body. The likelihood of mesothelioma recurrence varies from person to person and depends on factors such as the stage of the cancer when initially diagnosed, the type of treatment received, and the overall health of the patient.

Common Signs of Mesothelioma Recurrence

It is important for mesothelioma patients to keep an eye out for common signs of recurrence after treatment. These signs can include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Persistent coughing
  • New lumps or growths
  • Unexplained fatigue or weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Detection and Diagnosis of Mesothelioma Recurrence

Because mesothelioma recurrence can happen anywhere in the body, it is important for patients to undergo regular monitoring after treatment. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, or PET scans to monitor for signs of recurrence. A biopsy may also be performed to confirm the presence of cancer cells.

Treatment Options for Mesothelioma Recurrence

If mesothelioma recurrence is detected, treatment options may include:

  • Surgery – Depending on the location of the recurrence, surgery such as a pleurectomy or decortication may be performed to remove cancerous tissue.
  • Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy drugs may be used to target cancer cells that have returned.
  • Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy may be used to shrink tumors and slow the progression of mesothelioma.
  • Experimental treatments – Clinical trials may offer experimental treatments or new drugs that are not yet widely available.

Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Living with Mesothelioma Recurrence

Living with mesothelioma recurrence can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. It is important to prioritize self-care and seek support from loved ones and healthcare professionals. Your doctor may recommend rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy, to help manage any physical limitations caused by mesothelioma.

Talk to your doctor about ways to manage the emotional impact of mesothelioma recurrence. Support groups, counseling, or therapy can be helpful in coping with the emotional toll of cancer.


Mesothelioma recurrence is a common concern for mesothelioma patients after treatment. It is important to be aware of common signs of recurrence and to undergo regular monitoring after treatment. If recurrence is detected, there are treatment options available, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and experimental treatments. Living with mesothelioma recurrence can be challenging, but with proper medical care, support, and self-care, it is possible to manage the physical and emotional impact of cancer.